The Internet security expert whose home played a central role in a murder hoax on Saturday was also targeted on the same day last year by members of an underground web message board.
Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said it is too early in the investigation to know whether the caller, who used a computer and cloned phone number to set off the scare, targeted homeowner Parry Aftab, when he
Aftab was a target of members of the Internet message board "4chan" on the same day last July after she appeared on Good Morning America to talk about the case of an 11-year-old Florida girl who had been mercilessly cyberbullied. Board members spent an entire day attacking Aftab, shutting down her websites, vandalizing her Wikipedia page and posting personal information, including her phone number and address, according to Gawker.
Aftab had been on the morning show to talk about the case of "Jessi Slaughter," a Florida girl whose bullying, and response to it, vent viral.
"Things that she has discussed publicly, for whatever reason, has made her controversial with certain people," Fox said.
About 30 police officers, including the county SWAT team, surrounded Aftab's home after the anonymous caller claimed to have killed four people, wounded a young girl and taken two others hostage at the house. The caller demanded $10,000 and a getaway car.
Fox said police had reasons to believe the call was not a hoax, but could not discuss them.
Aftab was on vacation Sunday and could not be reached.
Aftab was one of the keynote presenters at last week’s Cyberbullying Summit in New York City, the first of its kind, which drew teens, parents, teachers and dozens of experts at the Times Center in Midtown.
Aftab works with families of young victims of cyberbullying, and has spoken at conferences across the country on the subject of sexting and other issues facing young people through various Internet outlets.
Her work on special projects with law enforcement and the FBI has led to the arrests and imprisonment of countless cyber predators, and she was instrumental in organizing a campaign – “Email to America” – which addressed fears that children of Middle Eastern descent would be targeted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
She also wrote the first Internet safety book for parents: A Parent’s Guide to Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace (1997), and has received accolades from New Jersey’s FBI office and other government agencies.